"McPherson - Rice - Barton"
Santa Fe Trail Research in McPherson Rice Barton Counties in Kansass
Cow Creek Crossing

     We continue this trip down the Santa Fe Trail through the counties of McPherson, Rice, and Barton County. The Santa Fe Trail enters McPherson county about three miles east of Canton, Kansas. The trail travels past the grave site of Ed Miller an eighteen year old killed by Indians on the trail in 1864. Making it's way west the trail passes near the Kaw Treaty site. This is the location of a second treaty enacted by the Sibley Survey party of 1825. This site is near the Kansas town of Elyria.

     At this point the trail takes off in a southwesterly direction and enters Rice county about eight miles southeast of Little River, Kansas. Five miles south of U.S. 56 highway on Plum Street, on the southeast corner of that intersection is a Daughters of the American Revolution marker, marking the Santa Fe Trail in that location. From this location, to the west about a half mile is the location of Camp Grierson on the south side of the county road. Crossing the Little Arkansas and looking to the north of the road is the location of the Stone Corral on the west bank of the Little Arkansas.

     At the next intersection west turn north to a DAR marker on the east side of the road. This marker give the location of the Stone Corral as being one half mile southeast.

     Back to the intersection that you turned north on and continue west about a quarter of a mile and there is another DAR marker on the south side of the road. Staying on this county road and going west about nine miles you will come to Jarvis Creek. Just after crossing the creek on the north side of the road is a limestone post marker with the name "CHAVEZ" on it. Jose Antonio Chavez, a wealthy Mexican trader was captured near Jarvis Creek by Missouri bandits, robbed and was executed near this location. At the Quivira Museum in Lyons, Kansas there is a relic from the Chavez Family on display.

     Continuning to west to the next intersection, proceed north about one half mile to another limestone post marker. To the east of this location was the Owl Creek Crossing of the Santa Fe Trail. Another DAR marker is also near this location just to the north.

     Back to the corner and proceed west to highway 14. This will put you about two miles south of Lyons, Kansas. On the south edge of Lyons, turn west on a county road just on the south side of the golf course. About four miles west you will come to a small park on the north side of the road. This park is the location of Buffalo Bill Mathewson Well. To the west on Cow Creek is this Santa Fe Trail Creek crossing. The main crossing is located just to the south of the present day bridge.

Cow Creek Crossing Marker

     From Cow Creek the Trail proceeds west southwest for about three miles before turning to a more northwest direction. In the northwest quarter of section eight, a short set of Santa Fe Trail ruts can be seen. The Trail crosses the Chase/Alden county blacktop about a mile south of U.S. 56 highway.

     The Santa Fe Trail crosses U.S. 56 about two miles to the west of Chase, Kansas. From Chase proceed west on U.S. 56 about four miles west till you come to a blacktop which is the Raymond road that goes north and south. At this intersection there is a sign pointing north to Ralph's Ruts about three quarters of a mile. At this location a DAR Marker in a turnout on the east side of the road can be seen. In the pasture to the east of the marker are some of the finest Santa Fe Trail ruts in the State of Kansas. Ralph is well known for sharing his part of the history along the Santa Fe Trail From the Little to the Big Arkansas.

     From this location if you look to the west about one mile you will see three large sand dunes. This location on the Trail is noted as Plum Buttes. They acquired this name from the fact that there were wild plum bushes growing around the bases in trail days. Plum Buttes was an important landmark for travelers of the Santa Fe Trail, the buttes could be seen immediately after crossing Cow Creek and became a guidepost on the Trail.

     After crossing Plum Buttes the trail continues west in to Barton County, Kansas. At a distance of about five miles the Santa Fe Trail comes to the Big Bend of the Arkansas on the southwest corner of Ellinwood, Kansas. At this location there was a large campsite. Also at this site burial of most persons dying after crossing Cow creek took place. Their bodies were coffin less, their funerals prayer less and their graves unmarked.

     The Santa Fe Trail from this location continued west about six miles along the north side of the Arkansas River to the site of Walnut Creek Crossing, Fort Zarah, Kansas and the Allison/Boothe Trading Ranche To the northeast of Fort Zarah, about forty miles on the Smoky Hill river was the location of Fort Ellsworth later to be named Fort Harker After crossing the Walnut Creek the Trail went to the west to near Great Bend, Kansas before taking a southwest direction to "The Wort on the Prairie" or Pawnee Rock, Kansas.

     After leaving Pawnee Rock the Santa Fe Trail enters Pawnee County and continues on to Ash Creek Crossing northeast of Larned, Kansas. Near the base of Pawnee Rock in the late 1850's there was a Trading Ranche

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